Over the weekend just gone, I was invited to join some friends at an AirBNB getaway in Tullah, in Tasmania's North-West (I'll leave a link to the accommodation below). I jumped at the opportunity to drive up to the North and North-West of the state, as we've recently had a lot of snowfall, and I knew there'd be some great photo opportunities. I may cover the entirety of the trip at a later date - for now I'd like to record my experiences shooting Cradle Mountain, in hopefully a few quick paragraphs.
Also apologies for how terrible my writing probably is. I've spent years trying to write blogs and failing, but I've decided recently to just power through, publish the rubbish, and hopefully in a year or two I'll have developed some better writing skills. Ok here we go.
My friends were leaving Hobart on Friday afternoon, but since I wanted to shoot that day's sunset, I left around midday and powered up the Midland Highway to Cradle Mountain, arriving shortly before the sunset began in earnest. As expected it was super cloudy - but also windy and wet. On the plus side there was still a heap of snow around on the plains, and although there were a lot of clouds around the mountain itself, it was obvious there was a heap of snow there too.
Since I wasn't getting any landscape shots with the weather the way it was, I spent some time hunting around for Wombats, and it took all of about two minutes to find a cute little guy munching on some grass near my car. Not a total loss of a day then! :)
I spent a fairly quiet night at Tullah, with my friends arriving quite late in the night. While everyone else was keen for a sleep in, I set my alarm for around 4am and prepared my gear for the next morning. The forecast was for completely clear skies - a rarity at Cradle Mountain. Thankfully my eagerness for photos was stronger than my will to sleep in, and I made it to the mountain just as the stars were starting to disappear. In hindsight I really wish I'd made it in time for some astrophotography, but I suppose that's something to look forward to, long into the future.
The sight that greeted my when I arrived took my breath away. Although there was only a little light in the sky, the outline of the mountain was plain to see, and I could barely contain my excitement over the photos I knew I was about to get. I took a couple of quick test shots like the one above (which ended up being one of my favourite shots) and got into position. Although I'd scouted the area a few times before, every other time I'd been to Cradle Mountain it was miserable overcast weather, so I really didn't know where I wanted to shoot from.
In the end, I decided the best approach would be to shoot from dead on. It was still quite dark so moving around would be difficult, and I knew there were other photographers in the area, so I didn't want to disturb them. I'm sure in future visits I'll experiment with other angles, but since I'm unfamiliar with the left side path, and generally uninspired by the traditional "boat shed" shot, I was content with the direct approach.
Over the next hour or so, I tried a number of different configurations, tripod heights, lenses and techniques, but got the best results with just my 17-40mm and a long exposure. I could bore you with more of those details, but instead I'll let the photos do the talking!